Best Scuba BCDs of 2018

When it comes to dive gear, if you are an odd size and want to make sure you are comfortable on a dive, then you are going to have to get your own BCD. Not all dive shops have every size, let alone BCDs made for woman, so to make sure you have the perfect dive, just bring your own, that’s perfect for you!

Besides that, if you are diving with a new dive operator, you really don’t know how good or bad the quality of the equipment really is. I’ve done dives where the BCD didn’t fit well, the weight pockets fell out easily, dump valve cords were missing, inflators didn’t work, and much more. It can really ruin your dives. 

If you are afraid of traveling with such a big, bulky load, well you really don’t need to be. On this list there are a few great options for travel BCDs, that are super light weight and even foldable, that you will love. 

Thats what this guide is for. There are a lot of dive BCDs out there, and this guide is meant to make it easy to find your best possible match, based on budget, skill level, preference and more. If you can’t find something perfect for you here, I don’t know where else you will! 

BCD Reviews

Scubapro Hydros Pro

ScubaPro is an awesome company and make many BCDs, but this one is one of my favorites of the year. It has tons of features and comforts, and is good for all levels.  There is also a woman’s version

BEST FOR: Recreational divers, tec divers

Weight: 11.4 lb | 5.17 kg

Configuration: Back inflation, integrated weight pockets 

FEATURES: No Velcro or zippers, body grip gel, gel harness

PROS: Tons of features, instant dry materials, many colors. 

CONS: Heavy for travel and expensive

Scubapro Hydros Pro

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Also check out ScubaPro Computers

Hollis L.T.S​

Hollis LTS

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Hollis is one of my favorite brands for tec diving and advanced recreational gear. These guys focus on that, and are king . The L.T.S (Lite Travel System) is a weight integrated back inflation design thats awesome fro travel.

BEST FOR: advanced divers, traveling

Weight: 5 pounds (2.27 kg)

Configuration: Back inflation, integrated weight pockets

FEATURES: 30 lbs (13.6 kg) of lift, lightweight design

PROS: Perfect for travel, comfortable, affordable, d-rings

CONS: Limited size weight pockets (around 10-12lbs total)

Hollis HD-200

The HD-200 is the more heavy duty version of the L.T.S above, offering a bigger jacket with more lift, a nylon waist strap and more weight pocket space. This is an awesome BCD for everyday use. 

BEST FOR: Recreational divers, tec divers

Weight: 9.4 lbs (4.3 kg)

Configuration: Back inflation, integrated weight pockets 

FEATURES: comfort molded backpad, durable design

PROS:30 lbs (13.6 kg) of lift, comfortable, affordable, d-rings

CONS: Heavy for travel

hollis HD-200

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Cressi Patrol

Cressi PATROL

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Also check out Cressi Computers

The Patrol from is probably the best BCD on offer from Cressi, and it’s a good one. This light weight, rear inflation BC is built for comfort, and any diver would be happy with it as their daily diver. 

BEST FOR: Recreational divers

Weight: 5.7 lbs. to 6.5 lbs. (2.6 kg to 2.9 kg)

Configuration: Back inflation, integrated weight pockets 

FEATURES: Ultralight rigid backplate, Lightweight, high lift

PROS: 30-50 lbs of lift, comfortable, very affordable

CONS: Not sure?

Mares Hybrid AT

Here is a great jacket style BCD from Mares, that is super cheap. This is a good BCD for all levels, and dive shops like the shoulder inflator version for training. 

BEST FOR: Recreational divers

Weight: 4kg (size L) 9.5Lbs

Configuration: Jacket style , integrated weight pockets 

FEATURES: Jacket style& foldable, lightweight, Airtrim inflator

PROS: Super cheap, great company

CONS: ?

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Aqua Lung Lotus i3

aqua lung Lotus i3

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Also check out Aqua Lung Computers

This back-inflator style BCD was specifically designed for woman, and we can’t say enough about it. It is probably the best woman’s BCD we have ever tried. It folds and is good for travel, light, and maybe the perfect BCD.

BEST FOR: Recreational and tec woman

Weight: 7.25 lb – 7.6 lb

Configuration: Back inflation, integrated weights, side inflater

FEATURES: Woman’s Wrapture Harness System, octo-pocket

PROS: Built high quality, great weight system, great materials

CONS: New divers need practice with inflator/deflator

Aqua Lung Dimension i3

The Dimension i3 is a feature-rich, back inflation style BC that incorporates Aqua Lung’s patented i3 inflation/deflation system. This is basically the mens version of the incredible Lotus (above), and one of the best BCDs on the planet. 

BEST FOR: Recreational and tec

Weight: 7.25 lb – 7.6 lb

Configuration: Back inflation, integrated weights, side inflater

FEATURES: Wrapture Harness System, octo-pocket

PROS: Built high quality, great weight system, great materials

CONS: New divers need practice with inflator/deflator

aqua lung Dimension i3

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Also check out Aqua Lung Computers

Aqua Lung Axiom i3

Aqua Lung Axiom i3

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

Also check out Aqua Lung Computers

This is the BCD I use now, and I love it. Can’t say enough good things about it, except that it really is awesome. The one complaint I would have is how bulky it is, for all my travels. But I preferred this over nearly all others. 

BEST FOR: Recreational and tec

Weight: 8.37 lbs (3.8 kg)

Configuration: Back inflation, integrated weights, side inflator

FEATURES: Wrapture Harness System, octo-pocket

PROS: Built high quality, great weight system, great materials

CONS: New divers need practice with inflator/deflator

Zeagle Ranger LTD

This BCD is equipped with Personal Fit System Modular Sizing. The PFS allows for a custom fit and lets you change out specific sections of the BC. It also has adjustable elastic waist panels and a lumbar pad that is permanently mounted in the rear of the vest section. 

BEST FOR: Recreational 

Weight: 9.5Lbs (4.3Kg)

Configuration: Back inflation, integrated weights

FEATURES: Tough and durable, rapid deflation

PROS: Really great design, good for all levels. Very adjustable 

CONS: Expensive, heavy

Check out current prices on: Amazon | LeisurePro

So what BCD should you choose?

best scuba bcd

Still not sure what one to go with, with all these great options? There are a few factors to consider when choosing the perfect BCD for you, so lets go through those, and then I will just give my recommendations and all time favorites, that you cant go wrong with.

YOUR BUDGET
Obviously you should think about your budget, check the prices in the links above, and that will be a big factor. But obviously since there are a lot of options around the same prices, there will be more factors to think about.

HOW OFTEN WILL YOU DIVE?
If you are diving frequently, are a Divemaster or instructor, you are going to want a good BCD that will last, as well as one that matches your skill level. If you are diving a few times a year, you don’t need the most top of the line.

WHAT IS YOUR QUALIFICATION LEVELS?
Most of you reading this will be recreational divers, and do not need something very technical. And just remember that if you get one with a side inflator, you need to do a couple practice dives with it, as it is dangerous to not be familiar with where your inflator/deflator is located in an emergency. But once you get use to it, you’ll love it. But, if you are an instructor, you need a regular inflator hose, as you will be demonstrating it to students. 

So what do I recommend?

I can not say enough good things about Aqua Lung BCDs (although I love all the companies above). From my very first ever dive, I started with a super simple and cheap Aqua Lung Wave. It’s a simple, no weight integration, and every dive shop has loads of them as they are cheap. It’s all a new diver needs. Axiom i3 BCD

Once I got a few dives under my belt, I upgraded to a Axiom i3. I think that is almost the perfect BCD. The only complaints I have is that I travel a lot and it weighs over 9 pounds dry, and it is kind of expensive. But it is top of the line, comfortable and great, so I deal with the luggage weight. 

Really soon I would like to try out the Dimension i3, as it might be a little lighter to travel with, but I don’t know if it’ll be much better underwater. But you can’t go wrong with either.  

As you can tell I really love Aqua Lung, but I also think Scubapro and Hollis are awesome too, I just don’t have as much experience with those BCDs So my advice is, if you ca afford it, go for the best and get Aqua Lung. I even use their dive computers, and it’s an awesome company. 

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Justin Carmack on FacebookJustin Carmack on Instagram
Justin Carmack
Justin is a dive master and world traveler on a mission to dive and document the top 100 dive sites in the world. In doing this he hopes to bring love for the marine environment to the world!

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